London’s Jewish Museum is being inundated with more than 3,000 emails a day from Polish nationalists supporting their country’s controversial new Holocaust law.
Museum boss Abigail Morris said she and three other staff members – all Jewish – are bombarded by more than 1,000 individual messages a day, while the museum’s non-Jewish staff were not targeted.
Morris said the “very disturbing” trolling began hours after Poland passed a new law banning mention of ‘Polish death camps’ and of Polish complicity in the horrors of the Holocaust.
“It’s scary,” she said this week, after reporting it to the police. “We’ve just taken an exhibition of ours to Poland, where it’s had 55,000 visitors, so my name was out there, but others weren’t. I don’t know how they knew who was Jewish and who wasn’t. Some [Jewish staff] don’t even have Jewish names. It’s very disturbing.”
The exhibition, focusing on the history and significance of blood, was successfully transferred from the Camden institution to the POLIN Jewish history museum in Warsaw last year, and has been well received.
Yet although the exhibition touches on Polish anti-Semitism, Morris said most of the emails didn’t reference the exhibition, but instead focused on Poland’s new law.
“They were all personal emails from real people,” she said. “This wasn’t a computer-generated campaign where everything reads the same. It wasn’t copy-and-paste wording. These were real people who had obviously all sat down to make a point. Some were quite reasonable, making the case about ‘Polish death camps’ – others much less so.”
Morris said her name and those of the other Jewish staff members were subsequently found on a Polish nationalist website, but still doesn’t know how they were identified as Jews.
“When we told our colleagues at POLIN, they were devastated,” said Morris. “They’ve spent 20 years combating anti-Semitism and just felt heartbroken.
“They felt all their hard work had been for nothing. They’re very concerned about what’s happening in Poland right now.”
Although she says she told the police, Morris added: “No one seems very interested, because all they’d done is email.”